Koh Lanta Comeback at the Crown Lanta Resort
We’ve made a few references in the past about our terrifying ferry journey to Koh Lanta during our first visit to Thailand. It was in August of 2011, monsoon season in Thailand, and we were making the journey from Phuket with a stopover in Koh Phi Phi. The first part of the journey was insanely beautiful. The sun was shining, and the colors of the water were nothing like I had seen before. However, on the second leg of the journey, we were transferred to a much smaller boat and we no sooner left Phi Phi when the weather turned on us. Monstrous waves started rolling in and tossing us around like a toy boat. With every wave, I thought “This is it. We’re going over”. Half the passengers were getting sick over the side of the boat, the other half just started chugging whatever alcohol they had with them, and I was literally in tears.
We managed to arrive safely, but distressed, and checked into our bungalow on the beach. Only the storms were still pounding the island. We had no electricity for hours and there wasn’t much of a beach to be seen. Since I only had 10 days in Thailand, we didn’t want to waste what little time we had. After only one night, we found ourselves packing our bags and taking the 6 hour mini-bus journey back to Phuket where we finished out our two weeks in Thailand.
Fast forward 6 years later – many of those years which were spent in Thailand – and we had yet to return to Koh Lanta. Everyone we knew in Thailand raved about the island. People visiting Thailand often asked us if it was worth a stay, and while I hated to deter anyone from going, I couldn’t personally recommend it given our past experience. We knew it wasn’t really the island itself that we didn’t love, but the bad weather and less-than-stellar accommodations we stayed in that left us underwhelmed. We knew we couldn’t let the forces of Mother Nature hinder our opinion of the island. Another visit was certainly in order.
When we were invited down to the Crown Lanta Resort last month, a 4.5 star boutique hotel on Koh Lanta, we jumped at the chance. We were planning to spend some time at the beaches to escape the smoke in Chiang Mai and this was the perfect chance to revisit the island and see what all the fuss was about.
From the moment we arrived, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality from the staff. We were greeted with welcome drinks and a cold towel. A member of the staff sat us down and gave us a thorough run-down of the massive property, where everything was located and how to get around. We were then shuttled in the resort’s buggy to our villa, where we were given a tour of the room. As two travelers accustomed to more mid-range and 3-star hotels, we felt a bit like royalty. It was certainly a nice change and I think one we could get used to 😉
Our private pool villa overlooking the Andaman Sea was stunning. The room was spacious and cozy with the most incredible views of the ocean right from the bed. Whereas we would normally close the curtains before bedtime, we preferred to keep them open and wake up with the sun. What a view to wake up to each morning…
The private pool on our balcony is where we spent 90% of our time during our 3 days on the island. Even when rain rolled in, we brought out the laptops and caught up on work under the umbrella. In fact, we never wanted to leave the hotel because we had everything we could possibly want.
The pool with a swim-up bar was definitely one of the nicest pools we have been in, but we really didn’t spend much time there as we preferred the privacy of our own space.
We did manage to break away for one day. We rented a motorbike and drove the entire island, stopping at some beautiful, pristine beaches on the way. But to be honest, I just wanted to get back to the resort and soak up as much time there as I could. They had their own private beach, after all, and we were often the only people on it. There really was no need to leave the resort.
Breakfast each morning at the Peak was a great way to start the day. We could enjoy our coffee and huge variety of breakfast options while perched on top of a cliff. In fact, all of the restaurants at the resort had beautiful panoramic views of the ocean. Our favorite of all though was definitely Reggae Bar.
From here, you can witness Koh Lanta’s epic sunsets from your cabana with cocktails and snacks. The first two nights, it rained in the afternoon and we missed it. We were so excited when the skies cleared on our last night and we finally got to capture this beauty…
Icing on the cake was the fire show on the beach.
Its safe to say Koh Lanta redeemed itself. Of course, staying at a beautiful resort like the Crown Lanta, made it almost impossible to have a bad time. But even though we had bouts of rain, we were still able to appreciate the beauty of the island and a place that hasn’t yet been ruined by mass tourism. Its still very raw compared to the likes of Aonang or Phuket but it is definitely growing. Just since we were there in 2011, so much has changed.
We are so glad we finally made the trip back to Koh Lanta and we now completely get the hype. It’s a beautiful island with so much to offer. We can’t wait to return and explore more of it!